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Matter of Fact Newsletter from Science & Engineering and Computing & Mathematical Sciences Summer 2012 rural land use on the river; and the effects of urban development on the river. “I was incredibly impressed with the quality of students we had coming through the Science Summer School this year,” says Dr Ian Duggan, Science Summer School Convenor. The students resided in College Hall during their stay at Waikato University, giving them the opportunity to experience true student life. Each student applied to their local Rotary club to be in the running to attend the Summer School. The students were then selected by Rotary from a pool of applicants. Sponsors The Summer School is an annual event run by Rotary District 9930 and Waikato University’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, with sponsorship from Hill Laboratories. INSIDE... Computer science Student's software picked up by Google and NASA Page 2 Engineering excellence Robotic arm a winner at annual design show Making a difference Researching anti- cancer drugs in Switzerland Page 3 Waikato River focus for Science Summer School The week-long action-packed Hill Laboratories Waikato Science Summer School ran from 4-9 December, and gave the students a taste of what it can be like to study science and engineering at a tertiary level. Exploring the Waikato River The week kicked off with a visit to the The Mighty River Waikato exhibition at the Waikato Museum, followed by a road trip up the river with stops at Lake Taupo and Tokaanu Power Station, and an overnight stay at Turangi. The following day the group travelled back down the river, with stops to explore and collect samples at Craters of the Moon, Wairakei, Aratiatia Rapids, Waipapa Dam, Karapiro Stream and the Hamilton Water Treatment Plant. Learning in the labs Students spent the remainder of the week in Waikato University’s science and engineering labs, analysing samples and experimenting with the University’s state-of-the-art instruments. Among other experiments, the labs included examining Waikato River zooplankton under the microscopes in the biology lab, looking at how pumps are used within Hamilton’s water supply system in the chemical and biological engineering lab; analysing water samples taken from the river in the chemistry lab; investigating the hydrology around the river in the earth sciences lab; and building and programming water flow meters in the electronic engineering lab. Presenting findings Group presentations by the students brought the week to an end. Topics of focus included the natural, unmodified Waikato River; dam and power generation on the river; the influence of A group of top Year 12 students from around the North Island attended the Hill Laboratories Waikato Science Summer School last December. Photo: Natalie Guest Page 3 Investigating the past and present condition of the Waikato River was the task for 39 top Year 12 students at the University of Waikato. Hill Laboratories is the country’s largest privately owned analytical testing laboratory specialising in a wide range of environmental, agricultural, food safety, food residue and air quality testing. A tour of Hill Laboratories was included as part of the week’s agenda. “Good science is close to our heart, and our strategic plan includes an intention to support young people as they pursue their own interests in science,” says Steve Howse, Hill Laboratories General Manager. Applications for the 2012 Hill Laboratories Waikato Science Summer School open mid-July for current Year 12 students. Information packs including registration forms will be sent out to schools. Registration forms will also be available online at www.sci.waikato.ac.nz/sciencesummerschool Turn to the back page of this newsletter or visit the website above for more photos of the week.

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Page 1: Waikato River focus for Science Summer School...Exploring the Waikato River The week kicked off with a visit to the The Mighty River Waikato exhibition at the Waikato Museum, followed

Matter of FactNewsletter from Science & Engineering and Computing & Mathematical Sciences

Summer 2012

rural land use on the river; and the effects of urban

development on the river.

“I was incredibly impressed with the quality of

students we had coming through the Science

Summer School this year,” says Dr Ian Duggan,

Science Summer School Convenor.

The students resided in College Hall during their

stay at Waikato University, giving them the

opportunity to experience true student life.

Each student applied to their local Rotary club to

be in the running to attend the Summer School.

The students were then selected by Rotary from a

pool of applicants.

Sponsors

The Summer School is an annual event run by

Rotary District 9930 and Waikato University’s

Faculty of Science & Engineering, with sponsorship

from Hill Laboratories.

INS

IDE

... Computer

science Student's software

picked up by Google

and NASA

Page 2

Engineering excellence

Robotic arm a winner

at annual design show

Making a difference

Researching anti-

cancer drugs in

Switzerland

Page 3

Waikato River focus for Science Summer School

The week-long action-packed Hill Laboratories

Waikato Science Summer School ran from 4-9

December, and gave the students a taste of what

it can be like to study science and engineering at

a tertiary level.

Exploring the Waikato River

The week kicked off with a visit to the The Mighty

River Waikato exhibition at the Waikato Museum,

followed by a road trip up the river with stops at

Lake Taupo and Tokaanu Power Station, and an

overnight stay at Turangi.

The following day the group travelled back down

the river, with stops to explore and collect samples

at Craters of the Moon, Wairakei, Aratiatia Rapids,

Waipapa Dam, Karapiro Stream and the Hamilton

Water Treatment Plant.

Learning in the labs

Students spent the remainder of the week in

Waikato University’s science and engineering

labs, analysing samples and experimenting with

the University’s state-of-the-art instruments.

Among other experiments, the labs included

examining Waikato River zooplankton under the

microscopes in the biology lab, looking at how

pumps are used within Hamilton’s water supply

system in the chemical and biological engineering

lab; analysing water samples taken from the river

in the chemistry lab; investigating the hydrology

around the river in the earth sciences lab; and

building and programming water flow meters in

the electronic engineering lab.

Presenting findings

Group presentations by the students brought

the week to an end. Topics of focus included

the natural, unmodified Waikato River; dam and

power generation on the river; the influence of

A group of top Year 12 students from around the North Island attended the Hill Laboratories Waikato Science Summer School last December. Photo: Natalie Guest

Page 3

Investigating the past and present condition of the Waikato River was the task for 39 top Year 12 students at the University of Waikato.

Hill Laboratories is the country’s largest privately

owned analytical testing laboratory specialising

in a wide range of environmental, agricultural,

food safety, food residue and air quality testing.

A tour of Hill Laboratories was included as part of

the week’s agenda.

“Good science is close to our heart, and our

strategic plan includes an intention to support

young people as they pursue their own interests

in science,” says Steve Howse, Hill Laboratories

General Manager.

Applications for the 2012 Hill Laboratories Waikato

Science Summer School open mid-July for current

Year 12 students. Information packs including

registration forms will be sent out to schools.

Registration forms will also be available online at

www.sci.waikato.ac.nz/sciencesummerschool

Turn to the back page of this newsletter or visit

the website above for more photos of the week.

Page 2: Waikato River focus for Science Summer School...Exploring the Waikato River The week kicked off with a visit to the The Mighty River Waikato exhibition at the Waikato Museum, followed

2 Matter of Fact | Summer 2012

Made it: Waikato University fourth-year engineering students and their support team with BEV - the battery electric vehicle the students built and drove from Auckland to Bluff.

“We averaged about 270 kilometres a day,

travelling at about 80ks an hour,” says student

Matt Kershaw. “The batteries need recharging

every 150 to 200 kilometres and businesses along

the way were great about letting us plug into their

mains when we needed to stop.”

The students, their supervisor Dr Mike Duke

and electronics technician Ian Honey stayed at

camping grounds and slept in tents along the way.

Matt says they didn’t rush the journey and were

happy to make detours to take in the scenery. “For

BEV, the hardest part of the trip was going into

Dunedin – the big hills were a challenge.”

BEV (battery electric vehicle) was built by the

students over two semesters. It’s a single-seater

commuter vehicle powered by a bank of 10

lithium-ion batteries. Building and getting BEV

roadworthy was a challenge for the students who

Attention Google and NASA: Waikato computer science doctoral student Paul Hunkin’s software ClusterGL, is being used by Google and NASA.

Little car completes big journeyWaikato University engineering students successfully drove the electric car they’d built from Auckland to Bluff. It took less than two weeks to cover the 1700kms and apart from a bit of a glitch with one belt not running straight as they headed into Wellington, the car didn’t give them any major problems.

Software written by a University of Waikato computer science student has found its way to Google and NASA and is being used at the Johnson Space Center.

Computer science doctoral student Paul

Hunkin’s software ClusterGL was created for

the University’s display wall in 2008 and joins

multiple computers together to make one huge

display screen.

After catching the eye of Google earlier this year,

the program is now being used around the world.

Paul says there are five computers behind the

Waikato display wall, with each computer

controlling four screens. ClusterGL turns a display

wall into one giant screen, by letting a single

program on one computer control all monitors.

While the Waikato display wall is relatively small,

ClusterGL can scale to let you have a display wall

made from a handful to hundreds of monitors.

“I was talking to Google about another project

I was working on and happened to mention

ClusterGL. They have these curved display walls

and thought ‘this will be brilliant for what we

want’.”

Google offered Paul a Summer of Code internship

where they paid him to further develop the

software for their own curved display walls.

“ClusterGL was designed to work on a flat wall

like the one we have at the University. Google’s

involvement was to make ClusterGL better and

work on a curved geometry.”

After releasing the software to the public, NASA

saw the program and are now using it in the

Johnson Space Center.

“NASA saw one of Google’s curved display walls

and bought one of them. I was pretty surprised

to hear they were using it considering it started

out as something that I put together one rainy

Sunday afternoon,” says Paul.

Bid Bot, another program created by Paul which

drew global media attention last year, works by

scouring TradeMe every evening looking to bid on

and buy newly-listed items for $1. After scouring

TradeMe, Bid Bot would pick the rarest item and

were working to tight deadlines and completing

other papers in the final year of their degrees.

They quickly lost count of the hours they spent

on the car.

Dr Duke says there have been many New Zealand

electric cars converted from typical petrol engine

cars and a few that have used the chassis of

existing cars. “But the students have achieved

an amazing result by designing and building

completely from scratch the first ever fully

certified electric car in New Zealand.”

Matt Kershaw says BEV handled a bit like an old

mini. “And the noise; it was like driving at speed

with two windows down.” But he says the car

withstood the hundreds of kilometres extremely

well and the road trip was a fantastic way to wind

up his four-year Bachelor of Engineering degree.

“Knowing what I know now, I’d love to start from

scratch and build the car all over again.”

However he won’t be doing that. He and team

mates Tim Mason, Greg McPherson and Dale

Oswald all have jobs to go to in the New Year.

Interested in mechanical engineering?

Visit www.sci.waikato.ac.nz/engineering to

discover the opportunities available at Waikato

University.

Student’s software picked up by Google and NASA

after a successful auction, tweet what it had

bought.

Visit www.scms.waikato.ac.nz to find out more

about studying computer science with the Faculty

of Computing & Mathematical Sciences.

Page 3: Waikato River focus for Science Summer School...Exploring the Waikato River The week kicked off with a visit to the The Mighty River Waikato exhibition at the Waikato Museum, followed

3Computing & Mathematical Sciences | Science & Engineering

Engineering students excel at annual show

Developing anti-cancer drugs in Switzerland

Graduate Profile High School: Thames High School Degree: BSc, MSc(Hons), PhD, Waikato Major: Chemistry Job: Postdoctoral Researcher Employer: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

Man power: Fourth-year Electronic Engineering student Sam Cameron uses electromyography to control a robotic arm. Photo: Natalie Guest

Former Cambridge High School student Sam Cameron was just one of the talented young engineers who won a prize at Waikato University’s Engineering Design Show last October.

Sam's design project was an electronic arm

controlled by sensor pads placed on a person’s

bicep. The project was titled ‘Control of a robot

arm through electromyography’, and won him an

ArborGen Merit Award, worth $100. He is in his

final year of a Bachelor of Engineering majoring in

electronic engineering.

The Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper Engineering

Design Show on October 18 and 19 gave Waikato

University engineering students from years two,

three and four the opportunity to showcase their

prototypes. The students also presented posters

detailing their designs and gave short talks on

their research projects which were marked by

Waikato University lecturers.

A big winner on the day was fourth-year

mechanical engineering student Graeme Adriaens,

who won prizes totalling $700. Adriaens won an

excellence award of $500 sponsored by ArborGen

for his design project which focused on making

a draft tube platform for Mighty River Power.

He also won a merit prize of $200 sponsored by

Carter Holt Harvey for an oral presentation he

gave on his research project on the impact of

titanium produced by powder consolidation.

Other winning projects on show included a

prototype of a single seat battery electric car, from

a group of fourth-year mechanical engineering

Developing anti-cancer drugs in Switzerland is an exciting reality for former Thames High School student Kelly Kilpin.

Kelly completed a BSc, MSc and PhD at Waikato University, all in chemistry and loved the hands-on experience she got due to the close-nit chemistry department.

Following her PhD she worked on postdoctoral research at the University of Otago, followed by a Postdoctoral Fellowship award, which gave her the opportunity to work at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland for two years.

“My postdoctoral research focuses on the design and synthesis of ruthenium anti-cancer drugs. We’re trying to develop new drugs which eliminate some of the problems associated with drugs that are currently used in clinics today.”

Waikato's Department of Chemistry covers a wide range of specialist areas including analytical chemistry, geochemistry, environmental chemistry, forensic science, industrial chemistry, biochemistry and materials chemistry.

Read more Science & Engineering graduate success stories at

www.sci.waikato.ac.nz/study/student-profiles

students. See story opposite.

"The Engineering Design Show has become bigger

and better every year, and this fifth annual show

has continued the trend. The attendance from

the public and interested companies increased,

and more design projects were presented,” says

Associate Dean of Engineering Professor Janis

Swan.

“The support from the sponsors for the various

prizes was very much appreciated: Carter Holt

Harvey Pulp & Paper, ArborGen, TetraPak,

Stainless Design, Platts DrieVap Engineering

Ltd, and WaikatoLink, as well as prizes offered

by the Student Engineers New Zealand (SENZ)

and the Mechanical Engineering group of IPENZ.

Engineering at Waikato is becoming recognised

for its excellence.”

This year's Design Show will be held from 24-25

October. The show is open to the public, and

secondary school students are welcome to attend.

To view photos from the 2011 event and to keep

up-to-date with details for this year's event, visit

www.sci.waikato.ac.nz/engineeringdesignshow

Page 4: Waikato River focus for Science Summer School...Exploring the Waikato River The week kicked off with a visit to the The Mighty River Waikato exhibition at the Waikato Museum, followed

Matter of Fact | Summer 2012

Computing & Mathematical SciencesPhone +64 7 838 4322 Fax +64 7 838 4155 Email [email protected] www.scms.waikato.ac.nz

Contact usScience & EngineeringPhone +64 7 838 4625 Fax +64 7 838 4218 Email [email protected] Toll free 0800 438 254 www.sci.waikato.ac.nzwww.facebook.com/waikatoscienceengineering

4

What’s on11 may

University Open Day

Spend the day at Waikato University, and get a taste of student

life. Attend mini-lectures, take part in lab demonstrations, and

enjoy the range of fun activities and entertainment on offer.

Visit www.sci.waikato.waikato.ac.nz/openday

12-13 june

Waikato Experience Biology Days

Year 13 students and their teachers are invited to attend our

annual biology event. Lectures and lab work cover topics such as

DNA technology, human evolution and animal behaviour.

Visit www.sci.waikato.waikato.ac.nz/webdays

14-15 june

Osborne Physics and Engineering Days

Upper secondary school students and their teachers are invited

to attend lectures and demonstrations relevant to the physics

curriculum and current research.

Visit www.sci.waikato.waikato.ac.nz/ospendays

20 june

NZIC Analytical Chemistry Competition

Teams of Year 13 students are set an analytical task requiring

accurate and careful analysis of an unknown substance. The

results are judged and prizes awarded on the day.

Visit www.sci.waikato.waikato.ac.nz/chemcomp

11 july

Science Open Day

Experience a day in the life of a science student at Waikato.

Attend labs and lectures on chemistry, biology, physics, earth

sciences and Waikato's workplacement programme. Registration is

essential as numbers are limited.

Visit www.sci.waikato.waikato.ac.nz/scienceopenday

12 july

Engineering Open Day

Spend a day at Waikato University learning about the exciting

world of engineering. Participate in hands-on workshops and

discover the study options available. Registration is essential as

numbers are limited.

Visit www.sci.waikato.waikato.ac.nz/engopenday

Hill Laboratories Waikato Science Summer School 2011 Photos: Natalie Guest

Te Awamutu College has taken out the top prize at the Waikato University ChemQuest, finally taking the top spot from St Paul’s Collegiate, who have won the competition the last two years in a row.

First place went to (from left) Hayden Berkers, Liam MacKintosh and Matt Harker from the Te Awamutu team called ‘Tie-Tins’. The students were awarded the James and Wells trophy, $150 and a gold medal each.

The annual chemistry quiz gives Year 12 chemistry students the chance to put their chemistry knowledge to the test in a pop quiz-style challenge.

Te Awamutu students win ChemQuest

'Like' us on Facebook to keep up-to-date with what's happening in biology, chemistry, earth sciences and engineering.

www.facebook.com/WaikatoScienceEngineering